There is something important going on in sports these days. It deals directly with the evolution of consciousness through sports, but not just sports in the normal way we play them. Rather, the evolution of consciousness through sports played “in the zone.” Sports played in a flow state.
Exactly how playing your sport in a flow state works on the evolution of consciousness needs explanation, but for starters, your normal performance state and your peak performance state involve different “states” of consciousness. Gross consciousness in your normal performance state; integral consciousness in your peak performance state, and these different states of consciousness can be experienced at different stages of consciousness – different stages of development.
These stages of development can be seen in the graphic as they relate to coaching and competitive consciousness. It’s important to know that integral consciousness and flow can be experienced at all of these stages of development, yet it has not been until the emergence of integral coaching practices that flow can be experienced intentionally at all of these stages of development, and in every sport you play.
Historically, playing in the zone has always been seen as a random occurrence, an experience over which we have no control. In other words, the peak performance experience of playing in the zone comes over us by chance, not by choice. But that conventional understanding of flow is rapidly changing as this new stage of integral coaching shows that flow can be taught and learned, intentionally, at any stage of athletic development.
Where earlier models of conventional coaching stop at the intentional production of flow, the emerging models of integral coaching start with the intentional “co-creation” of flow. You see, playing in the zone is not just an experience of your peak performance state; it is actually the co-creation of a whole new performance reality that comes from a direct connection of your body-mind to the flowing present dimension, and this body-mind connection can be intentionally activated, thus intentionally co-creating the peak performance state of flow.
Flow, at its core, is nothing more than being in the present; nothing more than the reality of the here and now. Nothing more – and nothing less. From the perspective of competition, flowing presence can be seen as the key to peak performance in any sport, in any activity, at any age or skill level, and at any stage of development. There is no higher athletic experience than playing our sport in the zone.
But there are so many lesser experiences. And our normal performance reality belongs to this lesser category. Lesser because our normal performance experience is not the fully-potentiated reality of flow. Our normal performance experience is a partially-potentiated reality – still a co-created reality, but one whose asymmetrical structure and process prevents its unfolding as a fully-potentiated experience.
What makes playing in the zone the ultimate athletic experience is the underlying symmetry of its structure and process as it unfolds in a fully-potentiated experience of the here and now. Call it flow, call it the zone, call it the ideal performance state, but whatever you call it, what you are experiencing is the full boat. Nothing more can be put into the here and now, because it already contains everything you are capable of experiencing. This is not to say that you cannot or will not experience more in the future. It’s just to say that playing in the zone will always occurs in the flowing presence of the here and now, and to make it happen by choice and not by chance, all you have to do is connect your mind and your body to the flowing present dimension.
There is nothing more.
But there is oh, so much less.